Softball standout headed to Cal U Athletic Hall of Fame
Penn Hills native Christine Dillner will be inducted into the California University of Pennsylvania's Athletic Hall of Fame in an October banquet and ceremony.
Dillner, 40, played softball for four years at Penn Hills High School as a catcher and shortstop before graduating in 1991.
She also played high-school volleyball.
Dillner, who lives in Asheville, N.C., spoke with the Progress' Patrick Varine about her softball career and pending induction:
Q: Who were some of your biggest softball influences?
A: Stacey Eppinger, former (Cal U) player and Hall-of-Famer, who is also from Penn Hills. Coach Craig Coleman, the Pittsburgh Patriots travel ball team — they taught me so much about the game. (Coach Coleman) is currently head coach at Robert Morris College. Also (former Cal U) Coach (Linda) Kalafatis, who believed in me to bring me on the team. And without a doubt (current) Coach Rick Bertagnolli for pushing me to the max, pulling out my best and never holding back from being better than I thought I could be.
Q: You earned NFCA All-American honors in 1995 after a season that saw you bat .468 with 80 hits and 54 RBI. What would you say was the secret to your massive success at the plate?
A: I was determined to go out giving it all I had. I never really paid attention to stats, so seeing these numbers and comparing years, I can only come to one conclusion, be the leader that this young team needed to do great things and win!
Q: When you look back at your softball career, is there a moment that stands out more than others, and why?
A: Catching the final fly ball to send us to the big games. I fell to my knees and just took a moment to appreciate going to the World Series.
Q: Are you still involved in softball today?
A: I help coach my daughter in the Erwin youth league here (in North Carolina). I've been doing that for four years now.
Q: Your 1995 season ranks you among the top five all-time Cal U players in terms of batting average, hits and runs scored. What does it mean to have such a storied spot in Vulcan softball history?
A: Again, my personal stats never stood out to me, I didn't know I actually held such a rank. I'm in awe — amazed at the efforts that paid off and feeling blessed. This completes my career as a ball player and allows me to teach my daughter, challenging her to beat Mom's records wherever she may go.
Q: You are the fourth member of your team to be inducted since 2007. What does it mean to you to have been part of such a high-achieving team?
A: I had no doubt this team and these players had potential to do great things for our program. I'm grateful to have been a part of the successes, and I'm honored to be among these elite players.
Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or firstname.lastname@example.org.